Parents riled over new school calendar

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Proposed calendar

For the 2009-10 school year

Key dates:

Sept. 3 First day of school

Sept. 7 Labor Day

Sept. 25 No school

Oct. 9 Teacher in-service

Oct. 23 No school

Nov. 13 No school

Nov. 23 to 27 Thanksgiving break

Dec. 11 No school

Dec. 21 to Jan. 1 Winter break

Jan. 15 No school

Jan. 29 Teacher in-service

Feb. 12 No school

Feb. 26 No school

March 5 No school

March 19 No school

March 22 to 26 Spring break

April 9 No school

May 23 Graduation

May 27 Last day for students

If you go

What: Hayden School Board meeting

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: School Board Meeting Room

Agenda

Call to order

Requests to address the board

Reports - Board requested, principal, superintendent

Discussion - Use of Breathalyzers, early graduation request

Action - Early graduation requests, school safety and security task force, 2009-10 calendar

Executive session

Personnel

Adjourn

— A group of parents are gearing up to contest a proposed change to the Hayden School District calendar for next year. A proposal to begin the 2009-10 school year two days earlier goes before the Hayden School Board on Wednesday night.

Superintendent Greg Rockhold will present the new calendar, which includes a full week for Thanksgiving break and starts school Sept. 3 - the week before Labor Day.

A group of 14 parents are upset about the potential change and sent a signed letter to the Pilot & Today protesting it.

"We don't believe that most people in the community have had a chance to evaluate this calendar, and many don't realize that the new calendar will have a new start date," the letter states. It was signed by Dennis and Laurie Hallenbeck, Lori Laird, Ernest Archuleta, Jackie Hayes, Rebecca Ferrier and others.

Jill Delay, a parent who was involved with scheduling discussions in the past but who did not sign the letter, said starting before Labor Day would rob families of the final days of summer.

"That is the last hurrah of the summer before school starts, and you're trying to get everything done," she said.

Delay said her family typically goes camping or shopping during Labor Day.

Rockhold said he welcomes public input during the board meeting Wednesday night. During that meeting, the board will have the option to approve the schedule. Members of the public also will have a chance to speak.

Rockhold said he and the administrative team proposed making Thanksgiving break a full week instead of the typical three days because the two days students are in school that week are not productive.

"To ensure that our kids are getting the most bang for their buck, it was brought up that everyone's geared toward Thanksgiving and this week is really not that productive, how can we better use our time productively?" he said.

Rockhold said he discussed the changes with the three building principals and found that the staff, with the exception of some Hayden Valley Elementary School teachers, supported the change.

"A good 80 percent of our staff, overall, said, 'Shoot yeah,'" he said.

Rockhold said he decided to add the additional days from Thanksgiving to the beginning of the year because the first few days of class are taken up by going over school rules and distributing textbooks, and he would like to make the first week after Labor Day as useful as possible.

In the letter, the parents stated that "starting two days before the Labor Day weekend is questionable as far as educational value."

The South Routt School Board approved a calendar at a March 19 meeting that will start classes Aug. 25. The Steamboat Springs School Board will vote on a proposed calendar at an April 13 meeting that calls for starting class Aug. 31.

Steamboat's proposed calendar includes three days for Thanksgiving break, while South Routt plans to take an entire week.

Breath check

Rockhold said he also will recommend that the School Board postpone plans to use a Breathalyzer at the Hayden High School Prom this year until more details in the plan can be figured out.

"I'm going to recommend the board keep it on the burners, but take no action on it," he said. "Prom's around the corner, and we don't want to rush it."

He said the policies still are being tweaked and administrators are talking to lawyers to ensure the district is prepared when the breath tests are implemented.

Hayden High School principal Troy Zabel first suggested the use of breath tests to deter students from drinking before prom.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Malcolm_Reynolds 5 years, 8 months ago

A group of fourteen people, better hold the meeting in the auditorium! I've got to be there, just for the entertainment alone.

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Malcolm_Reynolds 5 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately, Queenie your ignorance is showing! What is this telling our children with your rant? The first two days are non productive anyway, the kids are not ready for school; they have to get their books, class schedules are being arranged, basically chaos & so on. So why not get those days over with and come back after Labor Day ready for school.
Also which is more important your lifestyle or your children's education?

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Queenie 5 years, 8 months ago

You'll notice, Malcolm, my issue is mainly with the lack of communication, and Rockhold and not the school calendar.

Your haste to mock Hayden, a group of concerned parents and judge me by calling me ignorant without seeking first to understand undermines your credibility.

When you know the situation and those involved completely, perhaps then your opinion will matter to me.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, if the school is saying the first two days are not productive then it would seem that the school is implying that they could be missed. Seems to me that the school is saying that if kids are in Hayden then come to school, but if family is on Labor Day vacation then that is okay. Presumably, the parents should meet with the teacher prior to start of school and get the preparation stuff done so their child is ready to be productive on their first day of school after Labor Day.

Not sure why the need to get so upset.

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TWill 5 years, 8 months ago

Queenie- Is that an inferiority complex you have? No one is mocking Hayden. But they might mock you. Malcolm is right- what kind of example does your rant teach our kids?

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Duke_bets 5 years, 8 months ago

Queenie - Rockhold has the title of superintendent, so it basically is his school. And, his communication seems fairly adequate.........He gave everyone a 5-month notice to prepare.

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Malcolm_Reynolds 5 years, 8 months ago

Read the article again, this is a proposed calendar for the school year it is not written in stone. All of you entitled parents will have a chance for your input.

Before you jump to any conclusions, which will hard for some of you, try to understand the reasoning behind the proposed calendar. I know for you change is a hard pill to swallow!

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arnonep 5 years, 8 months ago

If there was any real concern about our children's education, we would be discussing year round schooling. All of those involved in the decision making for our schools, especially Doctor D, like to flap about how it's all about the kids to justify what ever it is that they think they should be doing. But we have never heard one word about year round. When and if it ever gets brought up, we will hear a lot about the cost, the teachers, and every other lame excuse, but the fact is none of that matters if we truly are interested in what is best for the kids. All of this over a couple of days?

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jk 5 years, 8 months ago

Pat, just out of curiosity what does year around school have to do with anything?

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oldskoolstmbt 5 years, 8 months ago

i don't really care for the s.routt's new calendar...having a spring break when NO other school will (cousins, friends, etc.)..BUT i will embrace the positive's...hardly anyone else on that beach in mexico (wishful thinking)...or possibly, anywhere else....we are such a spoiled country.

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TWill 5 years, 8 months ago

I think what arno is trying to say is that if the "best interest of the children" were the real issue (not convenience to the parents, teachers and administrators) then the effective results of year-round schooling would be addressed.

Granted this would essesentially require an entire cultural adjustment and wouldn't be easy to implement, but there is very little question that it would be most effective in preparing our children for the working world of the future. Look at what other counties (that are kicking our butt in many areas directly correlated to eductaion) are doing. Hint: it doesn't involve cirriculums scheduled around family camping trips...

Oldskool, you're right we are a spoiled country.

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